Singapore—Some good news for travellers over the Lunar New Year holidays: more counters will be opened at the checkpoints at Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) complex at the Causeway’s Sultan Iskandar Building — and at the Sultan Abu Bakar Complex in Johor for travellers using the Second Link bridge.
Additionally, more officers will be manning the checkpoints as well, to facilitate faster traffic arriving from the Causeway and the Second Link bridge.
This is part of Malaysia’s preparation for the expected rush of traffic during Chinese New Year, according to Khairul Dzaimee Daud, the Immigration Director-General, who said that his department has launched pro-active measures in expectation of heavy congestion at the checkpoints and to make sure that travellers go through them easily.
According to Datuk Khairul, “We expect there would be congestion at those checkpoints between Jan 23 and Jan 28, so we have taken several measures including ensuring that all counters are open at both places especially at the bus, motorcycle and car lanes.”
In a statement on Wednesday (Jan 22), he announced that 12 more counters will be opened at the Sultan Abu Bakar Complex. Therefore, there will be 36 counters open at the complex over the Lunar New Year holidays.
Special counters have also been allotted for seniors, people with disabilities and pregnant women. These are counters 3 and 4 at Sultan Iskandar Building. A few counters will also be allotted for the car lanes at Sultan Abu Bakar Complex for travellers using the Second Link bridge.
Datuk Khairul said that leave for personnel at both entry points has been frozen for the time being, and that officers from other areas are being sent to the Sultan Abu Bakar Complex and the Sultan Iskandar Building.
He added, “We will also be collaborating and coordinating with other relevant agencies such as the police, the Customs Department and the Malaysian Quarantine and Inspection Services at the entry points.”
Datuk Khairul also pointed to the social media pages of the Johor Immigration Department for updates on the traffic situation, adding that it would be good for Singaporean visitors to check the credit balance on their “Touch and Go” cards before they leave for Johor Bahru.
He also encouraged everyone to take public transportation as this would lessen traffic.
“The department will also update traffic information at BSI and KSAB and the travel advisory on the department’s website,” Datuk Khairul said in a statement on the department’s website on Wednesday (Jan 22), Bernama reported.
Last November, Malaysia’s Home Minister, Muhyiddin Yassin, emphasised the need to build a third link that would link Johor Baru with Singapore in order to ease the heavy traffic on the Causeway.
The Home Minister is the chairman of the Special Committee on Congestion at the Johor Causeway. According to Bernama, Malaysia’s national news agency, Tan Sri Muhyiddin said that this link could either be a tunnel or a bridge and that he has already told the federal government of this necessity.
The Home Minister said, “If the state government supports this, I will ensure this initiative be started. Before, we used to have only one bridge. Then we had two bridges and now these two can no longer cope,” since congestion often builds up at the Second Link in Tuas as well as at the Causeway.
Mohd Solihan Badri, the state Public Works, Transport and Infrastructure Committee chairman, said that the Home Minister’s proposal for building the third link is a step in the right direction.
Bernama reports him as saying that the Customs, Immigration and Quarantine complex at Bangunan Sultan Iskandar, built in 2003, would have reached its full capacity by 2020.
The Home Minister echoed Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Tun Mahathir Mohamad, who also recently called for a third link to connect Malaysia and Singapore, due to a large number of vehicles going back and forth between the two countries. -/TISG